If the allegations of the complaint prove true, Hanover Insurance Company has lost sight of the golden rule in how to treat its own customer in a Sandy claim. How else could an insurance carrier explain that its lawyer called their policyholder/customer an idiot during an examination under oath in a Hurricane Sandy claim?

The policyholder filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Federal Court bringing these allegations to light.1 The policyholder manufactures paper plates and utensils and claims the insurance carrier unfairly denied its claim for Sandy damages and hired an attorney who badgered its representative and even called him an idiot during the examination under oath. The policyholder claimed they provided information detailing damages sustained at its warehouse above any flood water line and claims to have given information about how water came in from above. The lawsuit seeks damages of $1.5 million against Hanover Insurance for breach of contract, bad faith, and seeks appraisal of the damages. The complaint calls Hanover’s investigation a sham and alleges that the examination under oath consisted of sarcasm and badgering by Hanover’s counsel who even called the policyholder representative an idiot when he wasn’t able to identify a particular photograph with the specificity requested by the lawyer.

Now I realize that the insurance company itself didn’t call this policyholder an idiot, but this insurance company selected its attorney voluntarily to act on its behalf. This has to mean something for responsibility’s sake if the allegations prove true where the insurance carrier’s representative called its policyholder an idiot. Name calling and demeaning behavior has no place in any business and particularly not by an insurance carrier toward its customer because there is disagreements in positions. This behavior and treatment of a customer and policyholder should not be tolerated. Should professionals and insurance carrier representatives really need to be reminded of the Golden Rule? How would you feel if that were you as the customer?

1 Complaint, Fox Paper Ltd V. Hanover Insurance Co., No. 2:14-cv-06730 (D.NJ October 28, 2014).